Thursday, July 29, 2010

A-Rod Gets Hilarious

Another night, another 0-fer in the home run department, and the 600 madness continues. But a sixth-inning double broke up the dramatic tedium, at least briefly, with a merciful (and palliative) comic respite. From the Daily News:

A-Rod's double provided a humorous moment as he slid into second, where the bag popped out of the ground and into his hands.

"I thought the milestone was doubles, so I took the base with me," Rodriguez deadpanned. "It just popped right out. I've never seen that before."

Look at A-Rod with a sense of humor! That actually made me laugh, and it might be the first time Alex has accomplished that- at least on purpose. And it even came with a fantastic picture:

Seems funny to me, but apparently Dallas Braden thought it was "classless, and a violation of the unwritten rule that you don't take the second basemen's bag. That's his bag."

Despite the fun, the milestone was not doubles, and the world still awaits the big bash. But A-Rod's two hits are a good sign that he's trying to maintain a steady approach and not swinging for the fences. The first two games in Cleveland were a bit dicey, but last night was a step in the right direction. My gut tells me we'll be seeing that home run tonight or tomorrow in Tampa.

The rubber game in Cleveland yesterday ended with a decisive win, and AJ Burnett had his second straight decent outing. The erratic Arkansan lasted into the seventh, striking out 7 and walking only 3 on his way to a 9th win. Fausto Carmona, maybe the best pitcher on the Cleveland staff, got absolutely rocked by the Yankee lineup.

Strangely enough, the Yanks have a pattern of faring well against big-time pitchers while struggling against relative unknowns. As the Times blog pointed out yesterday, the Yanks have fallen to six straight pitchers making their major league debut. The latest came Tuesday, when the unheralded Josh Tomlin held the Yankees scoreless through seven and defeated CC Sabathia. If Tomlin's five predecessors are any indication, he can't necessarily look forward to a brilliant career. The Times does the rundown, and only the Marlins' Anibel Sanchez has had what you might generously call 'moderate success' in the aftermath.

What's the deal here? Six in a row is significant, but the phenomenon seems pretty odd. The only explanation proferred has been that pitchers have the natural advantage in a first encounter, before anyone has the book on them. It sounds logical, but at the same time you'd expect the disciplined and patient Yankee lineup to give nervous debutees (who aren't particularly talented, it turns out) a hard time. Yet somehow, the opposite is true.

I don't have any answers, guys. But I'm fucking sick of it.

Other fun things at last night's game: some d-bag wore a Lebron Heat jersey, and had to be escorted out by security for his own safety. And some fans even followed him all the way to the exit. Yikes. They would've followed him all the way to the parking lot, but the minute they reached the gate, they realized that the area immediately outside the stadium was Cleveland.

-Hey, look at this picture of Dustin Pedroia from ESPN:

What a whimsical little fellow! In this picture, he just saw a fire truck.

-Good news: only 48% of vendors at Yankee Stadium were found to be in violation of federal health codes.

At Yankee Stadium, 48 percent of vendors were found to be in violation of health codes. The OTL report, citing an inspection-report excerpt, said that five hot dogs registered 91 degrees in a hot-holding unit when they were supposed to be no cooler than 140. Inspectors at the Yankees' home also had a vendor dispose of a bottle of Chivas Regal whiskey containing dead fruit flies.

Oh come on, it's still good! Yo, nobody gave Darwin any shit when he worked with fruit flies! That was Darwin, right? The science guy with the boat?

-Just finished reading a book called "A Sense of Where You Are" by John McPhee about Bill Bradley's senior season at Princeton. If you're a fan of college basketball, this book is absolutely required reading. The writing is so good, and Bradley was such a fascinating and awesome player and person, that you'll want to take a time machine to 1965 and watch him work. It's really a thrilling piece of nonfiction, and it follows Bradley's Princeton team all the way to the Final Four.

The descriptions of the games themselves are almost worth the purchase price; it's amazing how much the sport has changed. With the increase in strength and athleticism, interesting parts of basketball have been lost to history (the hook shot and the set shot, for one), and some of the style from those days is lost. Unintentionally, McPhee's words give a lot of insight into why the NBA is so intolerable these days. It's a short book, and if you're like me, you'll blaze through it in a few days. Five stars.

That'll do it for today. Tomorrow will be the last post from the city of New York. The bags are packed, the U-Haul is idling, and Carolina beckons.

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